Loathsomeness is trepidation of the obscure, the imperceptible dread prowling just past our sight. Indeed, even in films and writing when the animal or cursed thing is uncovered in all their abnormal wonderfulness, it is the considered them lurking in the haziness that makes the pressure. As the banality goes, what you don’t see is more startling than what you do see. Ambrose Bierce shows us this most profitable of lessons in his short yet capable story of “The Damned Thing.”
It is night, an accumulation of men are assembled in a little cabin. One of them is a coroner who is perusing from the journal of the body (tastefully put on the table) by the light of a flame. William Harker soon touches base at the examination, having been summoned to come because of the way that he went with the expired, Hugh Morgan, in the most recent days of his life. Harker has an awesome story to advise, one that he can scarcely grasp.